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International Human Rights Day Dec. 10, 2015

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The world is watching in hope as our leaders meet in Paris for the Conference on Climate Change. Today and over the next number of months our Visitation Blog will contain articles and information regarding Climate Change. We invite you to log on and join the conversation regarding our world and the decisions we need to make to ensure its survival.

Connie MacIsaac, CND, with members of the communication committee 

Congregation of Notre Dame Associates and friends Gathering in Kelowna: joined with over 100 participants at the Climate Change gathering in Kelowna, BC, braving a cold wind off Okanagan Lake to listen to encouraging words from activists and add to the area’s contribution to video clips being shown at the Paris Conference. [Pictured from left to right: Mary Lou Johnson, Nancy Hurren, CND, Kathleen Baldwin, associate, Mieki Schmidt, Pat Weicker, associate, Carol Meredith, associate, and Tom Kemp] 

Sunday, Nov. 30th – Kingston Climate Action Rally: Sisters Rosemary Brosseau, Denise Bérubé and CND associate Melissa Breault joined a group of about 200 in downtown Kingston, gathered in solidarity with all who are attending the COP21 climate negotiations in Paris, and with all who are praying and marching all over the world, believing that the stakes of climate change are huge, especially for those who are poor and live in the global South. We gathered to the sounds of the drums, chants and prayer led by native aboriginal men and women. The atmosphere was electric, as two young adults introduced the various local speakers and musicians and – one brave woman began to dance in the middle of the square and before long we joined in. The MCs periodically reminded us of the reason we were there with slogans such as Fossil fuels/NO; Clean energy/YES, and 100% possible. We left feeling very hopeful by the presence of so many young adults and parents with children. They understand the importance of taking action against climate change for the health of present and future generations. Denise Bérubé, CND 

We are connected to the work in Paris: We are almost halfway through the critical UN Climate Conference in Paris, and true to our Corporate Stance Commitment, we are supporting the work, encouraging the leaders and joining with others in an enterprise of hope. So far we have supported our UN NGO representative Stacy Hanrahan, CND, as she takes her place in Paris with UNANIMA International, signed on to several petitions urging for a serious and binding agreement to be signed in Paris, volunteered to be part of a prayer chain of Prayers for Paris, ensured a Congregation of Notre Dame presence at the 100% is Possible Climate Marches across the country, including the signature event in Ottawa, and used our individual gifts to support the Conference in many, varied ways. Thank you to all who supported our Ottawa march delegation with prayers and good wishes. We were a small but committed group of sisters and associates, carrying banners with the JPIC Visitation Province graphic and the words of our Corporate Stance. The day began with a packed church at St. Joe's in Ottawa, with Development & Peace and several other groups joining in for a special 'Prayers for Paris' mass. Joe Gunn delivered an inspiring homily, inviting us to have the courage to consider what is (sometimes unreasonably) holding us back and to move with joy into a new future. We then walked as a faith group of a couple hundred, to join the over 25,000 marching from Ottawa City Hall to Parliament Hill. It was a gathering of joy and tenderness for all that could become. We made a human 100% is possible (meaning clean energy) sign on Parliament Hill; check out: and scroll down almost to the end to see the image. Let us continue to be connected to Paris in thought and prayer for the remainder of the Conference.

Monica Lambton, JPIC Coordinator 

Fourteen P.E.I. environmental and social justice Climate Action is Everywhere! groups are turning up the heat on world political leaders heading to the Paris climate summit. The groups organized a march Sunday, November 29th in Stratford, PE. Stratford's climate march is one of dozens taking place around the world on this global day of action.

• What do you expect from the Paris climate change summit?

"We're looking for, in this country, from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal government, that he deliver to Canadians 100 per cent clean and renewable energy by 2050," said Leo Broderick, one of the organizers of the P.E.I. march.

"We want no more fossil fuels. This is the major issue with climate change. The technology is there. All we require is the political will." The groups want to see the P.E.I. government achieve this target by 2035.

"We are, and many people around the world are, demanding action on climate change," said Broderick.

"We realize that the climate change impacts the most, on the most vulnerable in the global south and the poor, and there needs to be strong leadership from our political leaders as the Paris climate summit begins."

Following the march, Heather Eaton gave a lecture called "Pope Francis: Climate Change Hurts the Poor the Most.”

Anne T. Gillis, for JPIC

In Fredericton, on November 29th, 180 persons attended the screening at St. Thomas of the documentary “This Changes Everything”. Central take-away message is Transformation – replace fossils fuel energy with clean energy!

Eleanor McCloskey, for JPIC

Kevin Moynihan of Halifax has Canadian Video of Laudato Si with CND presence: just released an on-line version of his 'made in Canada' video on Laudato Si. DVDs will be available soon. In the 35 minute video you will see our own Sister Maura McGrath speak of the green project begun at our Motherhouse, and you will see Sister Gertie Josch, SC of Halifax, known to many of us, as well as Silver Donald Cameron of Halifax and Tony Clark. David Suzuki starts the video off with some excellent praise for Laudato Si. The on-line version has been well received and is being promoted and circulated by several groups, including the CRC, through Apraham Niziblian, Associate Director of JPIC-CRC and formerly our Congregation of Notre Dame Social Justice Network Coordinator.

If you find time to watch this video, I predict you will find it a beautiful resource. It makes me feel proud to be a Catholic, a member of a world-wide institution that has a leader, Pope Francis, so courageous, so “with it,” in today’s world and so esteemed by so many who are reflecting on Laudato Si.

Eleanor McCloskey, CND 

Spirituality: Last Monday evening I completed seven sessions on Laudato Si at the mother house. What a grace for me and the ten who participated! I began with the Introduction of the encyclical and continued with the last chapter, "Ecological Education and Spirituality." It became clearer to all of us as we moved through the text that a renewed education in ecology, in all the aspects that Francis presented, was essential to our spirituality in this 21st century. We finished our reading/reflection/praying on this marvelous text agreeing with our Pope that "a great cultural, spiritual and educational challenge stands before us, and it will demand that we set out on the long path of renewal." Kathleen Duffin, CND

"SPOTLIGHT" is based on the Boston Globe's investigative Movie Recommendation: reporting of the longstanding and widespread clergy sexual abuse and cover-up in Massachusetts. It has received much critical acclaim. There was a special screening for victims and those who attended felt it was a fair portrayal. Many Catholic leaders including Cardinal Sean O'Malley of the Archdiocese of Boston and Vatican Radio give praise and credit to the journalists for their work on this. Kathy Kelly, Ottawa 


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